All work for fair play: A scholar’s journey

Image of Sharmane

Qualifying as one of the Australia Awards Scholars for the 2015 intake was a great achievement and a privilege.

Under the Australia Award program, we are granted the opportunity to take up further studies in Australia in order for us to be makers of change in our home country upon our return. To become an Australia Award scholar we had to create a Re-Entry Action Plan, or REAP, which we established prior to our departure for Australia. In short, any decision made with regards to my educational institute and course was made with the primary intent of preparing me for my REAP.

The Re-Entry Action Plan I developed proudly banners the title: ‘Lihok Kabataan: Play Spaces for the Little Juans’. The words Lihok Kabataan mean ‘movement for the youth’ and Juan is a common name in the Philippines that just happens to sound like the word ‘one’, transforming the banner into a respectable attempt on a play on words.

In the Philippines, only 16 per cent of the Filipino youth have access to proper play spaces. My REAP aims to establish the foundations and references required in providing sustainable play spaces specially tailor-fitted for Filipino communities. The provision of an open reference for play space design and project implementation aims to encourage the actualisation of more plays spaces, making these places accessible to Filipino children. All these outputs are envisioned to start a chain of play space construction throughout the country.

With this objective in mind, the Australia Awards scholarship has given me the opportunity to hone the skills I need to turn this concept into reality. As a practicing architect in the Philippines, the task of choosing a course was simply a matter of finding a curriculum that gave me a solid foundation on the concepts I needed to master in order to visualise a project of this scale. This zoned me in on a Master of Architecture.

Then I had to choose from the dozens of reputable educational institutes all over Australia that offered this course.

Image of Inset 1-Sharmane at construction project in Philippines

Sharmane at a construction project in Philippines

After a significant and arduous amount of research, I concluded that Deakin University would be the best institution for me. As a scholar who would only be months away from my first international flight to an entirely different country and continent, Deakin’s international students program placed a great amount of significance on a smooth and comfortable transition to uni life in Australia, which appealed to me greatly. The course structure in itself offered a solid base of concepts and principles that were all relevant to my REAP. Being one of the leaders in student satisfaction and quality of education was simply icing on the cake.

Five months later, my feet have finally touched Australian soil, and I am hard at work to absorb the vast knowledge I am exposed to every day, in subjects as varied as the weather I’ve experienced since I’ve got here. I won’t pretend to know what the future holds for me, but I am sure beyond certainty that Deakin was the right choice for me.

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page

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